Review: In the Next Room (RedWit Theatre)

Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play) is now on stage in Toronto

In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play), being presented by RedWit Theatre at the Tarragon Extraspace, is the Sarah Ruhl play about the Victorian treatment for “hysteria” that earned three Tony nominations in 2010. Set in 1880, as the world begins to electrify, the play takes place in the home of Dr. Givings (Christina Fox), who has introduced his (utterly clinical) invention to reduce depression and languor in the lives of Victorian women. The device, essentially an ur-vibrator, induces a restorative “paroxysm” in the woman to relieve congestion in the womb. Continue reading Review: In the Next Room (RedWit Theatre)

Review: Hair (Hart House Theatre)

Hart House Theatre’s choice to produce Hair, one of the most controversial and infamous musicals in the rep could not be more timely or delightful. The musical’s relevance as a pop culture influencer is undeniable. I was born more than 10 years after the premiere performance and I am very familiar with many of the anthems and the key themes. It is now 50 years on from the 1968 premiere and we are in the era of #metoo rather than free love. Suffice it to say, I was curious to see this show through an early 21st century filter. Continue reading Review: Hair (Hart House Theatre)

Review: Tartuffe (Canadian Stage)

The Stratford Festival production of Molière’s satirical play is currently on stage in Toronto

355 years ago, the Catholic Church considered Tartuffe so threatening to the moral fabric of society that they pressured the king of France into banning it’s performance. The two most satisfying facts about Canadian Stage‘s completely delightful production of the classic work, honestly, are these: this Tartuffe doesn’t remotely feel 355 years old and yet somehow it still feels dangerous.

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Review: We Are Not Alone (Crow’s Theatre/Segal Centre/2b theatre company)

Photo of Damien Atkins by Paul AihoshiDamien Atkins performs his new solo play at Toronto’s Streetcar Crowsnest

“The truth is out there …” ‘90s kids will recognize that tag line from The X-Files; the cult hit sci-fi TV show about a massive government conspiracy to cover up the existence of extraterrestrials was a cultural phenomenon. For the generation who grew up watching that show, it’s not hard to see the appeal of re-visiting the subject matter if only for the sake of nostalgia. That cohort includes Toronto-based playwright Damien Atkins whose new play, We Are Not Alone, delves into the topic of UFOs and alien abductions.  Continue reading Review: We Are Not Alone (Crow’s Theatre/Segal Centre/2b theatre company)

Review: After the Fire (Punctuate! Theatre/Alberta Aboriginal Performing Arts)

Photo of Louise Lambert, Jesse Gervais, Kaitlyn Riordan, and Sheldon Elter in After the FireA new play set during the aftermath of the Fort McMurray fire is no on stage in Toronto

In May 2016, a fire in Fort McMurray, Alberta burned over 85,000 hectares and displaced the entire city. After the Fire, written by Matthew MacKenzie, and presented by Punctuate! Theatre, Alberta Aboriginal Performing Arts and Native Earth Performing Arts at The Theatre Centre, examines the aftermath of this disaster. Through the lens of one extended family, we see the economic, environmental, and, most importantly, the human costs of one of the largest natural disasters in Canadian history. Continue reading Review: After the Fire (Punctuate! Theatre/Alberta Aboriginal Performing Arts)

Review: Kiviuq Returns: An Inuit Epic (The Qaggiq Collective)

An epic Inuit play performed entirely in Inuktitut is now on stage in Toronto

Performed entirely in Inuktitut – Kiviuq Returns: An Inuit Epic by The Qaggiq Collective is a unique and important experience for Canadian audiences. Presented at Tarragon Theatre, the performance follows Kiviuq, the eternal wanderer and legendary hero of Inuit stories through five different narratives. The company uses shapeshifting creatures, throat singing and drumming to take you on a magical journey across the Arctic.

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Review: Eve of St George (Transcen|Dance Project)

Eve of St George returns to entrance Toronto audiences with an immersive take on Dracula

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the chance to witness Eve of St George, playing now at The Great Hall, ever since Wayne reviewed it back in 2015. The idea that they’ve taken Dracula, one of my all time favorite stories, and placed it into an immersive and interactive dance-fueled performance on multiple levels throughout the venue seemed so dazzling and sumptuous that I knew I had to see this for myself.

Continue reading Review: Eve of St George (Transcen|Dance Project)